Itzhak Perlman Plays Stravinsky (2015) [Qobuz FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Igor Stravinsky – Divertimento, Suite italienne, Duo concertant – Itzhak Perlman, Bruno Canino (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 53:11 minutes | 1,0 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Digital booklet | © Warner Classics
Recorded: Abbey Road Studios, London, 8–10 June 1974

Although Itzhak Perlman has appeared live with the Italian pianist and composer Bruno Canino on many occasions over the years, this Stravinsky recital is the only album they have ever made together — a unique and treasured record of their work together. Five years after setting down the Prokofiev sonatas for RCA (1969), and while he was still putting together his complete set of the Beethoven sonatas for Decca (1973–75), Perlman recorded this repertoire for EMI in what is one of the finest gems of his discography, and one of his own favourite albums.

The three works featured here all resulted from the close working relationship that developed between Stravinsky and violinist Samuel Dushkin (1891–1976). The composer first consulted Dushkin in 1931 when he was writing his Violin Concerto (recorded twice by Perlman: for DG in 1978, then for Teldec in 1994, see volume 55), and the collaborative process continued into the following year — not only did they give a series of recitals together, but they also worked together on the Duo concertant. As Stravinsky later wrote in his autobiography, “Far from having exhausted my interest in the violin, [my Concerto], on the contrary, impelled me to write yet another important work for that instrument. I had formerly had no great liking for a combination of piano and strings, but a deeper knowledge of the violin and close collaboration with a technician like Dushkin had revealed possibilities I longed to explore … The spirit and form of my Duo concertant were determined by my love of the pastoral poets of antiquity and their scholarly art and technique … [and the work] offers a musical parallel to the old pastoral poetry.” Hence his choice of its five movement titles: Cantilène, Églogue I and II, Gigue and Dithyrambe. His only original work for violin and piano, the Duo concertant was first performed in Berlin on 23 October 1932, by Dushkin and Stravinsky, and was included in the recitals the pair gave together across Europe in the months that followed.

Dating from 1934, the Divertimento is a faithful arrangement of the composer’s Tchaikovsky-inspired ballet Le Baiser de la fée (The Fairy’s Kiss). The Suite italienne is also an adaptation of a ballet score, this time Pulcinella. Stravinsky had created an initial violin suite in 1925 for the Polish violinist Paweł Kochan´ski, including five of the eleven movements of the 1922 orchestral suite. In 1932, cellist Gregor Piatigorsky had arranged Pulcinella for his instrument, and the following year Dushkin and Stravinsky began work on a new version for violin and piano. Unlike the Divertimento, the Pulcinella arrangement differs considerably from the original and includes some newly composed material.

Stravinsky and Dushkin created one more work together — the Chanson russe (Russian Song, 1937), adapted from the composer’s opéra buffa Mavra, Perlman’s interpretation of which can be heard on volume 7 of this set. –Jean-Michel Molkhou

Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971)
Divertimento (from Le Baiser de la fée, arr. Stravinsky)
1 I Sinfonia 6.35
2 II Danses suisses 4.52
3 III Scherzo 3.21
4 IV Pas de deux: Adagio 3.17
5 Variation 1.04
6 Coda 2.06
Suite italienne (from Pulcinella, arr. Stravinsky)
7 I Introduzione 2.14
8 II Serenata 3.11
9 III Tarantella 2.17
10 IV Gavotta con due variazioni 3.42
11 V Scherzino 1.12
12 VI Menuetto e Finale 4.24
Duo concertant
13 I Cantilène 2.58
14 II Églogue I 2.09
15 III Églogue II 2.33
16 IV Gigue 4.30
17 VII Dithyrambe 2.49

Itzhak Perlman, violin
Bruno Canino, piano